In today's recessionary world its become exceedingly difficult to make time for ourselves and the others we care for. With job lay-offs, the decline of 401Ks and wage decreases, we are spending more time worrying about our finances than taking care of things that still need to be accomplished. Cutting the lawn, walking the dog, tutoring your child are tasks that still need to be tended to, but sometimes overlooked. With our spirits dampened, we fore-go even the basic necessities of our everyday lives.
Well, that's where time banking comes into play.
At its most basic level, time banking is simply spending an hour of your day doing something for somebody else. In turn, that hour is deposited into a Time Bank and earns you a Time Dollar which can then be spent having somebody do something for you. This powerful paradigm is similar to the adage "pay it forward" from the movie of the same name.
Each Time Bank maintains a website where you list what you would like to do for other members of your community. Others do the same. Both the giver and the borrower gain from having their overlooked tasks taken care of, and are rewarded by doing the things they like to do best. For example, if I dislike grocery shopping, but have a passion for a sport, I could use my time dollars to have someone shop for me while I teach their son to play ball.
Time banks are a sign of the times. Psychologically, a financial crisis is a heavy burden to bare. However communities that offer time banks can engage us in a 'circle of giving' that will motivate us to become productive and involved in the lives of others experiencing the same upheaval and turmoil. So while we may incur financial losses over the short haul, we gain spiritually through our community support. Officials at New York's Time Bank have seen interest in the program double since the economic downturn began.
Timebanks.org talks about shifting our focus to the "common good" and a cause that "connects you to the best in people because it creates a system that connects unmet needs with untapped resources."
Where does one go to find a Time Bank in your area?
The TimeBanks USA Member Directory lists 27 states that presently offer time banking. Contact information lists addresses,websites, phone numbers and leaders with email addresses. A start-up kit to establish a Time Bank in your community can be obtained through TimeBanks USA at 202-686-5200 x 101.The cost of the kit is $49 and goes toward the cost of maintaining the website and administration of the program.Training is also provided.
Time Banking is a volunteer organization that is helping people globally. This short video provides you with what is currently being accomplished with Time Banking in the UK.
More video shorts can be found on Timebanks.org.
Time Banking can change the world we live in. Similar to some of the government programs that President Obama has recently rolled out, it allows for grassroots to attend to the deep social and financial issues facing us today. Children, minorities in poverty and the elderly are especially hard hit. One hour a day, a few hours a week could make all the difference.
When all is said and done, character is tested most when we have the least. Isn't it about time, we all stop and think about investing a little of our time!